European Tour

Noren leads Ballantine's

2013-04-27 14:24
Alexander Noren (Gallo Images)

Icheon - Alexander Noren of Sweden took a one-stroke lead after three rounds at the Ballantine's Championship here on Saturday.

Noren shot a three-under 69 to reach nine-under 207 for the $2.8 million tournament at the par-72 Blackstone Golf Club.

Despite finding only half of the 14 fairways in the third round, Noren escaped an up-and-down round with four birdies against one bogey.

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He tied for sixth in his European Tour appearance in Malaysia last month, but his last win came two years ago at the Nordea Masters.

After the round, Noren said it was nice to finish a long, windy day with a birdie.

"My short game I think held it together, and I didn't have that many chances," he said. "But I took care of them when I got chances for birdies and made the important pars when I needed. So it was a big fight day."

The Swede also said he will try to relish being in his position.

"I'm just trying to play well tomorrow, and it's going to be a really fun day," he said. "I haven't been in the lead in a long time, and I've had some good finishes, but it will be a lot of fun.

"But I'm just trying to play good and make birdies and try to make more birdies than the other ones."

Pablo Larrazabal of Spain and Scotland's Peter Whiteford are right behind Noren at eight-under each. Larrazabal fired the best round of the day with a 68, while Whiteford put together his second straight 69.

Australian duo Marcus Fraser and Brett Rumford are another stroke behind at seven-under. Rumford didn't have a par on the back nine, picking up six birdies, including five in his last five holes, along with three bogeys.

Fraser, who won the Ballantine's in 2010, dropped into a tie with his countryman by bogeying the par-5 18th. He was one of just eight players who scored bogey or worse on the closing hole, which yielded 29 birdies, more than any other hole, on Saturday.

Fraser will try to become the first multiple winner of the tournament, which began in 2008.

World No. 7 Louis Oosthuizen remains four shots back after his second straight 71.


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